After starting out red hot with a record of 11-0 the Steelers finished the season 12-4. It was evident throughout the season and especially towards the end that they didn’t have enough talent.
The Steelers have some players that could breakout this season and they really need it to happen. After the draft it was clear that the Steelers improved the roster but not enough to be Super Bowl contenders. If they can get some young talented players to breakout they have a real shot this season.
Steelers breakout candidates:
3. Cornerback James Pierre
The undrafted rookie had an up and down rookie season. James Pierre did show his talent throughout the season and seemed to get better each game. He was more of a special teams player last season but also served as the team’s 4th cornerback. With two corners leaving the team, Pierre should jump up to the third cornerback spot on the roster. Pierre showed what he was capable of in his brief appearances this past season and will look to be a big part of the Steelers secondary this season.
2. Tight end Zach Gentry
With tight end Vance McDonald retiring someone has to step up tight end. Zach Gentry seems like the guy to do it as he is next up on the depth chart. Although he has only had one reception in his first two seasons he showed his potential throughout his college career. The former 5th round pick showed his athleticism and route running throughout college and could be a redzone target for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger this season. His 6’8 265 pound frame will be hard for opposing defenses to stop in the redzone and he should develop into another weapon for the Steelers offense.
1. Offensive lineman Chuks Okorafor
Chuks (Chukwuma) Okorafor was the 2018 3rd round pick by the Steelers and he started for them this past season. He wasn’t expected to be the starter but due to injuries he Okorafor came in and was solid at times. Okorafor only allowed 3 sacks but struggled in run blocking. He showcased all the tools that make for a successful NFL lineman but didn’t put it all together. Although he struggled in the run game he was a productive player for the Steelers. Okorafor also showed improvement in the run game and could very well be a breakout player this season. If Okorafor puts it all together this season the Steelers will have a great tackle for the future.
With a lack of depth this past season the Steelers struggled as injuries derailed some key players. Even though they had all of these injuries they still had many holes to fill and got some players in the draft to do just that. The last step to a successful season is having players breakout and embrace the challenge. The Steelers will have a great chance at succeeding this season if these players rise up to the challenge.
Look for another solid season for the Steelers with these potential breakout players.